THE proposal to hand ownership of mineral rights to landowners in PNG would split national unity and devastate the country’s vital mining sector, the PNG Chamber of Mines and Petroleum said.
So what when we own these resources?
PNG is currently selling its natural resources cheaply while the chamber and the government are sleeping.
Copper and gold are traded in US dollars and mining companies pay the government and landowners in lousy kina. For example, an ounce (32gm) of gold is about US$1,700 which means US$50,000 a kilo. In a year, a company produces about 100 tonnes, so do your maths.
These companies are ripping our natural resources cheaply and with the weak kina, these companies are laughing all the way to the banks.
So what is K12 million royalty paid to Ok Tedi landowners. That is just like giving some a one toea change from K100.
An apprentice diesel fitter in a BHP-owned mine in Australia would be paid A$14,000 or K52,000.
Our workers working in PNG mines are a cheap labour compared to our Australian counterparts even though we do the same jobs. Is this in the best interest of Papua New Guineans?
I say go ahead with your bill, Boka Kondra and Sir Julius Chan. The grassroots support the bill.